SACRED HEART (9-14, 7-5 NEC) VS. ROBERT MORRIS (17-9, 9-4 NEC)
Game 24 * Sat., Feb. 16, 2013 * Fairfield, CT * Pitt Center
Setting the Scene... The Sacred Heart Pioneers take on the Robert Morris Colonials Saturday afternoon in the William H. Pitt Center. The Pioneers need to shake off a tough 64-60 loss to Saint Francis U Thursday night as they take on the second place Colonials. The Pioneers were without their starting point guard Thursday night as sophomore Phil Gaetano missed his first-ever game since suiting up in a SHU uniform due to illness. The Sacred Heart offense struggled shooting just 36.8 percent (21-57) and scoring just 60 points, a season low in NEC games. The Colonials are tied for second with LIU Brooklyn at 9-4 and just a half game behind first place Bryant at 9-3.
Series Notes... Today marks the 24th meeting between the Pioneers and Colonials.
- Robert Morris leads the all-time series, 15-8.
- RMU won the first meeting this season, 66-62, at home without the services of two of their top-three scorers in Velton Jones and Karvel Anderson. Lucky Jones and Mike McFadden led the way with 15 points apiece.
- The Colonials have won three-straight and seven of the last eight meetings with the Pioneers.
- In their last trip to the Pitt Center, guard Velton Jones buried a three at the buzzer to beat the Pioneers late last season, 55-53.
- The Pioneers are just 2-10 in Moon Township but 6-5 at home vs. the Colonials.
Pioneers in the NEC... Sacred Heart is in its 14th season of play in the Northeast Conference in 2012-13.
- SHU is 105-146 in conference play since joining the league in 1999-2000.
- The Pioneers best finish in the league was second, a feat they accomplished twice, in 2006-07 and 2008-09.
- SHU has qualified for the Northeast Conference Tournament six times.
- SHU has made two NEC Championship game appearances, falling to Central Connecticut in 2007 and losing to Mount St. Mary's at home in 2008.
The Head Coaches... Dave Bike (Sacred Heart '69) begins his 35th year as the head coach of Sacred Heart University where he owns a career record of 529-493. Only Jim Boheim of Syracuse has spent more time coaching at one institution. He led the Pioneers to eight NCAA Division II tournaments and his 1985-86 team won the national championship while finishing 30-4. Bike was named the national Coach of the Year by the NABC following the title game. Andrew Toole (Penn '03) is in his third season as the head coach at Robert Morris University. Toole is in his sixth season overall at Robert Morris, having served as an assistant in 2007-08 and as associate head coach from 2008 through 2010. In his first two seasons at the helm, Toole led the Colonials to back-to-back appearances in the NEC title game.
Up Next... The Pioneers will host Constitution State rivals Quinnipiac and Central Connecticut next week. The Pioneers beat the Bobcats, 80-74, and fell at CCSU, 84-78, earlier this season.
Last Meeting with Robert Morris... Sacred Heart senior Shane Gibson led all scorers with 27 points but Robert Morris countered with 15 apiece from Lucky Jones and Mike McFadden for a 66-62 win in Moon Township, PA on January 17th. The Pioneers shot 47.7 percent (21-44) but turned the ball over 21 times in the loss. Gibson's 27 point night came on eight-of-13 shooting, including four threes, and seven-of-eight at the free throw line. He added six rebounds, three steals and three assists. Freshman De'Aires Tate came off the bench for a career-high 12 points. RMU had four players in double figures led by McFadden and Lucky's combined 30 points. Russell Johnson and Coron Williams added 10 points apiece. The Colonials took advantage of the 21 Pioneers miscues, leading to 19 points at the other end, while only turning it over 11 times.